Main Information

Page 26

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The 37 pages in this Main Information section are below.

Classic vs Core Shamanism
Ethics of Spellcasting
Ethics of the Native Sacred Point of View
Following Others Discussion
Galactic Gateways
Harvesting the Fruits of Aging Discussion
Ley Lines & Vortexes
Mazes, Labyrinths & Spiral Discussion
Mother Earth
Praying Peace Discussion
Seeing through Soft Eyes
Soul Retrieval Discussion
Soul vs Spirit Discussion
Spirit Names & Their Medicine

The Oral Tradition
By Cinnamon Moon

I was thinking today about the oral tradition in Native teaching and among other cultures. It's sort of like home schooling isn't it? Instead of sitting in school with oversized classrooms we find smaller groups and individual tutoring for specialized training in various subjects…very specific attention paid to the student. Why? Because small groups and individual students have their own needs. If a small group of people are studying the same thing and working on development of the same abilities a group lesson would make sense. On the other hand, if an individual has needs that do not meet the group focus it calls for private tutoring or mentoring. The Oral Tradition is the answer.

So many of us can get caught up in the technical information available through online searches (expediency), in books (handy dandy reference points), CD's (learning on the go), etc. in our fast-paced society. We've come to want instant answers to things but spiritual seeking isn't an instant process and we soon discover that for ourselves. Even amid the Native teachings there are countless traditions from the hundreds of Tribes throughout the Americas. Which Tribe's teachings are right for us? What are the common threads? Why are they different? Whoa Nellie! What *a-r-e* they talking about? Is the confusion coming from rhetorical statements or semantics? Which tradition will make sense and which ones don't?

For the seeker new to indigenous ways who is looking to develop their spiritual path there is an early stage of devouring written material. Voraciously reading to feed the hungry mind brings repetition into play…what in those written words is repetitively being presented? These things stand out-"Oh, I've read that before a few times. Okay, now I get it, next." Through osmosis we take in the common threads this way and we explore what resonates with us the strongest. Often that's what's easiest to understand and just as often it leaves us with a growing list of questions and no place to find the answers-yet.

We're more observant initially too. Things catch our eye-you know, the items that relate to the spiritual tradition we're interested in: handcrafting, indigenous objects, perhaps regalia or instruments, cultural items that tell us things and we want to touch and feel them for ourselves. Contact seems important, perhaps we go to events where these items are on display or for sale; events like attending a Pow Wow or exploring vendors at a community cultural gathering. We see so many items and want to explore them, understand the symbolism, the beading or hand painting, oh those questions start to gather themselves fast. What does the Drum-head feel like, how tight is it? Look at how the sinew is strung to hold it in place, what craftsmanship! What does the baton feel like, how did they make it? What does it sound like when you strike it? Boom, boom, boom…now we know. How about that one over there, is that going to sound the same? No?! Wow, they all sound different, some have greater resonance, so many sizes, so many sounds coming out of them…we begin to understand slowly how the Sacred Drums of others are said to have their own Voice, ah-ha! That's what they mean! And as we strike the different Drums we start to feel the different vibrations, some feel good and others don't. We start to understand how selecting a Drum might be a very painstaking process, and not much different than the time it takes to learn to craft one to our liking ourselves…either way it requires time and effort to get it right.

We may ask questions of the individual showing us the items on display or of someone in the vicinity who might know how to answer our curious mind. That information is usually very topical and generalized; a mere sampling of insight; it is enough to wet our appetite as we wander on to the next object. Physical contact in this manner teaches us something, we're getting familiar with this environment in bits and pieces, learning to appreciate things a little at a time.

As we strike up small conversations here and there it leads to more insight. In this way we begin asking for direction on our path of seeking knowledge by inquiry into areas that interest us. Our captive mind begins a sort of hop-scotch method of finding answers where we can. If we're lucky we find someone who can tell us about a group or workshop in the area we might want to attend and we look into things a little deeper. We might begin seeking websites with like-minded people to pick minds and share experiences that give us a stronger basis to go on. That serves for a time too but what happens when the books and independent groups have hit a saturation point? What happens when it all starts to run together and everything is sounding the same? What happens when those answers aren't taking us where we need to go, fall short of the understanding we need, don't quite hit the mark? Something's missing, we feel it and we feel a need to find someone who can tell us what that is or where to go to find out…we need to communicate…we begin searching for someone who holds those answers.

In the old ways a person would seek out the Tribal Shamans or Medicine Chiefs, they would seek to learn in the Oral Tradition where things are fine-tuned, customized to our needs, and we are guided as we learn to make our own way with the new knowledge. But there isn't a Medicine Chief with an office in the local business complex, and there isn't a Shaman with a kiosk at the local mall tending to the needs of the busy shoppers. Indigenous people are often closed to those outside their culture learning about their ways and often antagonized by anyone making inquiry-or just the opposite but how do you know who to approach and how that approach will be received? What if there is no local indigenous connection point to begin seeking someone with answers? Will you ever find someone like that? Where do you begin looking? You start to ask questions of everyone and sooner or later someone says to you: "Go talk to __________, tell them I sent you."

The old adage: "When the student is ready, the teacher appears" is true. Trust it. We come to a point where we feel the need for a teacher and we voraciously seek one just as we voraciously read and explored what we could of the cultural artifacts or items. What we need to understand is that 'feeling' of need is the impression that a teacher is about to appear somehow, and it tells us to be aware but patient. It tells us to keep seeking information, keep asking questions, keep trying to find our directions that will take us into the vicinity of that teacher, but that it's timed as to when that individual will cross our path or we will cross theirs. We need to go deeper, we develop a hunger to know more, to understand better, to experience the things others talk about and if we aren't careful our anxiousness becomes impatience and frustration.

Figuring out what we need to be taught comes from all that exploring because we know what our questions are and we begin asking them of anyone and everyone we can: "How do I find more information about ________?" We start to seek direction and in that we focus in on what we need to learn, our questions lead us down the path, our areas of interest lead us down the path, and we open wider to finding our answers. In time, the teacher appears, often out of nowhere they just seem to cross our path, through introduction or by 'accident' it doesn't matter, what matters is we seem to recognize them when they come. There's something about them we can't ignore and we want to know more of what they know. We feel the need and we impulsively find a way to approach, strike up a conversation with them to find out how willing they are to share.

A conversation here, a conversation there…what's happening? We've stepped back, stepped away from the modern conveniences of online searches and the pile of books that confuse us with so many variations on the methods of attuning to whatever in-sight we're seeking and we begin to narrow things down. The overview behind us, we're ready now to become the serious student and when that happens somehow the teacher appears…we've stepped back into the Oral Tradition then, it's become personal…we have a mentor who can teach us many things, perhaps pass us on to another teacher for specialized knowledge, and we study with many different teachers as we go this way but it's always through the Oral Tradition that the in-depth answers reside…why is it they just don't put that into a book? *Soft smile-rhetorical question, just think about it.*

In the Oral Tradition the teacher is not an authority over others, nor are they all-wise or all-knowing, but they are a communicator of the knowledge they possess and that knowledge is shared according to the needs of the individual that is receiving it…customized if you will. The Oral Tradition offers a more casual yet focused tutoring whereby the individuals develop a close relationship and level of confidence because of the intimacy that arises. Trust is there and reflected as the student opens and begins to grow…this trust is not blind, it is based on respect that goes both ways. The teacher is mentor, therapist, healer, and more and the relationship becomes extremely intimate with shared confidences over time. This is a time when you do walk and talk with someone, fine-tuning your grasp of foundations and where the path you are walking can take you. I love to see that the knowledge is passed on this way, there will always be a need for it and I see it here at Spirit Lodge all the time among our community members; what a good feeling that is.

In the Native style of Oral Tradition the individual approaches asking to learn more-but that's not enough. It's a only the start because the teacher is going to be looking for signs that tell them the student is serious (if they haven't been forewarned by guidance to be watching for them already, they will be told by guidance when the student comes). That teacher will either accept or reject the request and they will validate that through the introduction process. If you are rejected do not take that as a personal slight, see it as the wrong Medicine for you to study at that time and keep walking. If you don't then you're going to be disappointed and discouraged.

Everyone is worthy of a teacher and Spirit will see you have yours. From there the teacher will ask about the circumstances that brought that seeker to them. The answer the seeker gives indicates what they will discuss from there if anything. The teacher is going to be looking at the signs that would indicate sharing should take place, if they are there then they will continue, if not the session ends and there will be no more between them. However, when those signs are there they stand out like the Full Moon in an ebony sky. They are unmistakable to one who knows how to see between the worlds, how to scan or read someone, and how to see the truth in them.

An agreement is made to share knowledge in stages and a commitment of some sort is called for. Matching the student step for step, that teacher will share only as much information as the student is willing to invest their own efforts toward learning about. It makes no sense to do more than that, and it makes a lot of sense to see how far that student is willing to go with their growth. As a student it is disrespectful to expect not to do homework and put forth that effort, you're wasting the time of the teacher who could be helping someone else grow. So as long as the student is willing and continues to apply themselves they will work together.

Often one teacher leading to the next through introductions in the same way one Spirit Helper will lead us to another. Each teacher has knowledge of foundational information and from there is specialized according to their abilities. So there is going to be a limit to how far we can walk with any given individual. In most cases a seasoned pathwalker is going to know other more advanced individuals and will introduce you to them or recommend you seek them out giving you a referral in most instances. We have many teachers in life and we limit ourselves if we sit only at the feet of one. We limit ourselves to the extent of their knowledge.

It's important to see that the full scope of knowledge we personally need is quite likely beyond that of a single teacher. Just as the student attending college undertakes many different courses of study, there are many courses of study along the path of spiritual enlightenment within the indigenous teachings. We need to remember that we will have a variety of teachers to walk with us. In each case it is the Oral Tradition that brings us through those relationships and creates the communication necessary to learn our lessons well, to hone our abilities, to expand our awareness, and learn to walk between the worlds.

Initially the oral sharing is informal, getting a feel for one another, a little history exchanged, experiences the student has had are discussed and a relationship between the individuals becomes established. This tells the teacher where the student needs to focus and how to bring them to the teachings through meeting individual needs…the interests the seeker holds indicate the need to know and the foundations are presented in that context. Ah the benefits of that personal attention are boundless! Once this is accomplished the foundations are broken down further as an overview of more formal traditional views is presented in a way the seeker is able to then grasp. From there the lessons are broken down again to present aspects one at a time for deeper understanding and attunement to them.

As the student works through them development of their own abilities begins, the senses are explored and become intensified in the process, you'll find introduction to guidance takes place, and conscious awareness begins to heighten. The work begins in earnest there and continues. Blockages are encountered and removed, challenges and fears are faced, and breakthroughs are achieved as the seeker develops their techniques along with their understanding of how to accomplish their goals. It takes dedicated effort to do this and it takes time.

Native tradition is founded first along the perspectives of the Seven Sacred Directions and from there it goes into the Medicine Wheel. The Medicine Wheel holds all teachings in a symbolic matrix of 36 stones…36 subjects with multiple layers and fractions to them. Oral Tradition provides a more intimate understanding of each stone placement and each stone is a course of study undertaken. When this is complete the student is able to stand on their own. Don't get me wrong, you don't know it all once the matrix is understood, it will take you a lifetime to explore it and you still won't know because the knowledge keeps expanding, it's infinite.

Initially, much effort goes into this kind of study on both the part of the seeker and the teacher sharing what they know, but without someone to discuss the ongoing experiences and put them into proper perspective the student is lost or taking a very long road of discovery through trial and error. The teacher is able to point the way to understanding the symbology and languages of the spirit worlds. The basic foundational teachings take about a year to grasp before someone is ready to take on the Medicine Wheel in ernest. After the Seven Sacred Directions have been explored the seeker discovers they have already stepped into the Medicine Wheel and passed through 7 courses of study, 29 more remain but the direction is there, they see how to proceed and there's no anxiety, just anticipation and passion that fuel them to pursue their pathway.

Through Oral Tradition the student learns to adjust their perceptions and connective tissues of the spiritual and mundane realities learning to bring them into union…duality into Oneness. It will never go out of style because it is the key to the fine-tuning every serious seeker needs. Oral teachings vary in that they are sometimes presented in a group setting. The Elders share in this manner much as speakers share today in workshops. Overviews, general concepts, foundational perspectives all fall into this arena well. However for the personal growth and development it calls for a one on one relationship…there are things that simply are not meant for group work. In a way it's like therapy, you can accomplish a lot in group therapy sessions but there still comes a time to focus on the individual and their personal needs.

Most of the Medicine taught is very private and sacred, not everyone is going to be comfortable with others knowing their business on that level. Guidance brings forth some very personal visions at these times and that should always be respected and honored, in the Oral Tradition it is treated in that way. The teacher is counselor, analyst, mentor, healer, confidant and so much more. There may be call to do soul-retrieval, regression sessions, healing sessions in a variety of ways. There will be journey work and deep inner work as you come to know your Inner Spirit and it's the teacher that will guide you through all that. In certain cases a Vision Quest is called for, the teacher will know if that's being indicated and if it is the case they will either guide you through it themselves or introduce you to someone who can.

Through the Oral Tradition the student is going to undergo some very deep exploration of their inner being. The mind, body, and spirit must undergo purges as layers of toxic energy waste are cleansed….misconceptions and distractions of the mind, impurities in the body, and cleansing the energy of the spirit begin. The seeker is prepared to receive the knowledge this way so that they can walk with the 3-I's: Integrity, Intent, and Impeccability. The 3-I's are not rigid rules of conduct, they are ethical rules of conduct based on each individual's perspectives so it is important that the seeker become aware of 'how' they walk their path and learn to discern for themselves what those ethical approaches are in any given situation. We are faced with many challenges in life and relationships with others and depending on the circumstances those ethics need to be able to be adaptive within the arena of sacred principles. How one adapts is up to them, but we are each responsible for our actions, our words, and our intentions dictate what that responsibility brings to bear...whether or not we will experience blessings or unpleasant consequences.

The Oral Tradition is the mainstay of learning the finer techniques of honing our minds, bodies, and spirits. It is not an antiquated concept, it is not 'dead', it is alive and well serving those who enter into it. It's important to remember that when the seeker is ready the mentor is going to appear. If you are seeking do not be impatient, do not feel you will be left out, do not worry about who that teacher will be or when they will come to cross your path. Instead know that when you are ready that teacher will come forward, not too soon, not too late, but at just the right time for you. Do not worry that they will be too busy for you, they will know you for who you are, they will have the time or know how to make it, and they will walk with you…as teacher, mentor, and quite possibly as your friend.

When the time is right the Oral Tradition comes into play…part of that tradition exists here at Spirit Lodge, there are many community members among us and all are at different stages of development. Amid us you are going to find different individuals with various areas of expertise to draw from. We are all seekers learning from each other, contributing to the resources of the site and evolving together. We have a very special home here; our resources are significant and expanding with us, the pool of knowledge is vast and growing, and we are blessed to walk together.

It may be that you will find your teachers among us and work independently together privately. You will likely find yourself sharing experiences as you can, entering into the Oral Tradition through the various developmental forums. These forums are designed to let you ask questions, sort through issues in development, and share what you've learned with others at the same time. It may be that one of our resource links leads you to a teacher in your area or you are inspired to seek one out and explore further beyond Spirit Lodge. It may be that someone can direct you to another individual not affiliated with the Lodge. Whatever the case may be, we are a good place to start.

I invite you to consider the value of the Oral Tradition in your life as well as in our forums. I invite you to utilize the site for all it's worth and to delve into the areas of Native spirituality that interest you. You don't have to be shy with your questions, they are all important parts of your sorting process and worthy of answers. Often they are questions others hold too but are too shy to ask about, many benefit when members ask about things. We love to share so ask us what you will-we'll do our very best to help you find the answers.

Libraries are on this row
INDEX Page 1
(Divination & Dreams, Guides & Spirit Helpers)
INDEX Page 2
INDEX Page 3
(Main Section, Medicine Wheel, Native Languages & Nations, Symbology)
INDEX Page 4
(Myth & Lore)
INDEX Page 5
(Sacred Feminine & Masculine, Stones & Minerals)
INDEX Page 6
(Spiritual Development)
INDEX Page 7
(Totem Animals)
INDEX Page 8
(Tools & Crafts. Copyrights)

Cinnamon Moon
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